Christmas Book Flood | Recommending reading

Mark Zuckerberg

Ender’s Game  
Orson Scott Card
(UK: @UKtor, 2017; USA: @torbooks, 2013)

UK: My Local Bookshop‘ search engine or Amazon
USA: Amazon

Once again, Earth is under attack. An alien species is poised for a final assault. The survival of humanity depends on a military genius who can defeat the aliens. But who? Ender Wiggin: brilliant; ruthless; cunning; a tactical and strategic master – and a child.

Recruited for military training by the world government, Ender’s childhood ends the moment he enters his new home: Battle School. Among the elite recruits Ender proves himself to be a genius among geniuses. He excels in simulated war games, but is the pressure and loneliness taking its toll on Ender? Simulations are one thing, how will Ender perform in real combat conditions? After all, Battle School is just a game … Isn’t it?

Recommended by:
Mark Zuckerberg, Internet entrepreneur and Philanthropist | Co-founder, Chairman and CEO: Facebook ; Co-founder: Chan Zuckerberg Initiative

Mark says: ‘I just added it [to my Facebook profile] because I liked it.’

Mark Zuckerberg launched the social network platform Facebook in 2004 with four other co-founders as a student directory for Harvard University contemporaries. Early promise persuaded Mark to expand the service to other US universities and he was soon dropped out of college to pursue his entrepreneurial ambitions for Facebook. He established offices in Silicon Valley with support from early angel investors … and the rest is history.

Facebook held its IPO (initial public offering) on 18 May 2012, going public on the New York stock exchange. With a peak market capitalisation in excess of USD $104 billion, the IPO was one of the biggest in Internet history. When Facebook went public, it had more than 900 million users; by June 2017, according to the company’s own statistics, there were over 2.01 billion monthly active Facebook users. As the UN estimates world population in October 2017 to 7.6 billion people, this means well over 26% of people on the planet are regular users of the social media platform.

In December 2010, Mark signed the ‘Giving Pledge’, promising to donate at least 50 percent of his wealth to charity over the course of his lifetime. He went further in December 2015, pledging to donate 99% of his Facebook shares (and those of his wife, Priscilla Chan) – then valued at $45 billion, to the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, a charitable foundation that supports health, education and science causes with long-term investments. The charity’s aims to be ‘a new kind of philanthropic organisation that brings together world-class engineering, grant-making, impact investing, policy and advocacy work’.

In August 2017, CNN reported that the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative will soon have around 200 employees. In addition, Mark and Priscilla have pledged to donate USD $1 billion a year towards CZI as well as a lump sum of USD $3 billion to their new Chan Zuckerberg Science investment vehicle, which aims “to help cure, manage or prevent all disease by the year 2100”.

Mark is an avid reader. In 2015 he wrote ‘My challenge is to read a new book every other week – with an emphasis on learning about different cultures, beliefs, histories and technologies … I’m excited for my reading challenge. I’ve found reading books very intellectually fulfilling. Books allow you to fully explore a topic and immerse yourself in a deeper way than most media today. I’m looking forward to shifting more of my media diet towards reading books.’

Please visit our Book Bulletin crowdfunding project at CrowdPatch to buy recommendations for our Winter catalogue and to volunteer your skills, experience and contacts. All funds raised will support the not-for-profit Jolabokaflod Book Campaign’s programme for 2018.